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A Japanese Homestay – The Ultimate Guide In 2023

Interested in a Japanese Homestay? Or maybe the Japanese language, Japanese culture and Japanese food intrigue you?

Then you must try a Japanese Homestay – an opportunity to get an insight into the real Japan! 

A Japanese Homestay can be as short as a weekend or as long as a year, depending on which program you signed up for.

WWB guest poster Jamie, will share all her personal tips and tricks on a Japanese Homestay.  

Japanese Homestay
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1. Which Part Of Japan Should I Look Into?  

2. Types Of Japanese Homestay Programs

3. How To Find My Japanese Host Family?

4. What To Bring To A Host Family In Japan? 

5. Pros And Cons Living With Japanese Host Family

6. Tips For Living With A Japanese Host Family

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First of all, what is a Japanese Homestay?

It is an exchange of culture between you and your host family in a foreign country. The host will usually provide you a place to stay at their home and also meals, in exchange for a homestay program fee. 

Japan is also named one of the safest countries in the world, making it an excellent choice to experience a homestay. 

Things To Know For Your Japanese Homestay 

1. Which Part Of Japan Should You Look Into? 

Japanese Homestay
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Once you have decided on going for the Japanese Homestay, you should now look at a homestay in Japan for tourists. Host families are usually throughout Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south. 

Just to give you a rough idea of different parts of Japan:


Japanese Homestay
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Known as the most populous metropolis, Tokyo is Japan’s capital and has a population of more than 37 million in its greater metropolitan area.

The Japanese capital thrums night and day in the central areas around Shibuya and Shinjuku, although there are still certain areas that offer a more peaceful alternative. 

In The Mountains 

Japanese Homestay

Japan is not just a buzzing city with neon lights and endless skyscrapers. In the north of Tokyo, you can find Mt. Tanigawa and Mt. Nasu.

These mountains would be suitable for those who seek fresh air and beautiful countryside, a good break from the city. 

Historic Kyoto 

Japanese Homestay
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Having served as the capital of Japan for over a thousand years, Kyoto, the old capital is a modern and large city, with a population of more than 1.4 million, yet still, preserves the elegance and traditions of its past. 

Kyoto’s main highlights include the vermillion torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha, and Arashiyama’s picturesque bamboo forest. 


Japanese Homestay
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Only a short train ride from Tokyo, Osaka offers a very different vibe to Japan’s capital city. Known for its food, fun and nightlife, Osaka also has a historical side – the highlight of which is Osaka Castle

You will be able to discover more about Japanese history at the castle and if you are there in April, you will be able to wander the beautiful grounds when the sakura blooms – which is often the best weather. 

Mount Fuji 

Japanese Homestay
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The one and only Mount Fuji is the most iconic site in Japan. 

For those who wish to explore the area around the mountain, there are a few Japanese Homestay homes in Fuji City, which is a great base to do the exploring, either by foot or by car. 


Japanese Homestay
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Sapporo is Japan’s fifth-largest city and is the capital of Hokkaido. It gets breezy and cool in the summer, snowy and cold in the winter. Known for its first rated food scene (especially its seafood), the Snow Festival happens every February and the amazing Beer Museum


Japanese Homestay
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Fukuoka is the sixth-largest city in Japan, the second-largest port city after Yokohama and the capital city of Fukuoka. 

It is also named one of the most important and busiest ports in Japan, located close to the Asian mainland. Commonly, tourists will use Fukuoka as a gateway to Kyushu’s quiet, remote and beautiful countryside. 

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2. Types Of Japanese Homestay Programs

Next, you will start thinking about which Japanese Host Family Programs are out there.

There are plenty of programs and here we have listed four of the most popular Japanese Homestay program options for you. 

Japanese Homestay
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Language Learning (Practicing On Your Japanese) 

Visitors learning the Japanese language from Japanese Homestays is one popular option and gets a lot of interest. During the homestay, your host family in Japan will converse and teach you as much Japanese. This is the best way of practicing and picking on the Japanese language quickly.

Au Pair (Them Learning English From You) 

In this setting, you will be getting room and board in exchange for teaching the English language. 

Au Pairs have become quite popular in Japan now as Japanese families enjoy the experience of a different culture and learn English in an informal setting, which is more comfortable for them. 

Study Abroad / Intern Abroad / Volunteer Abroad

If you are looking at studying or experiencing abroad, look no further! Japanese Homestay is a brilliant option as you will be experiencing different perspectives on how the Japanese live. This option will also help in saving big bucks in the long run. 

However, do take note that Japanese families mostly live away from cities. So, like most Japanese, you need to be prepared to commute. 


Worry not! If you cannot find the right Japanese Homestay program, you can organize it with a Japanese family independently! 

If you know a Japanese family that would like to host, you can proceed by agreeing on some ground rules. Speaking directly to the host can save you a few bucks. 

3. How To Find My Japanese Host Family?

Now you will be thinking how to get a host family in Japan, especially how to get a Japanese host family? 

There are many types of Japanese Host Families. 

Families with and without children, young and old, good at English and can barely speak English. Usually, on the application, you can put in if you have any specific requests. 

Japanese Homestay
Photo credit Rendy Novantino on Unsplash is a reputable website for finding homestays around the world. 

You can set your search by filtering which part of Japan and choosing from a variety of available hosts. 

You can read your stay descriptions with pictures and read the reviews of the hosts before making a decision. Prices per night are usually less than a hotel room, with the company of your host. 

Airbnb is another option for a homestay. 

There are options of choosing to have the whole accommodation by yourself or with the host. Make sure you look for listings where the host is staying in the same house. 

You can find many hosts list their houses on the site, allowing guests to stay in one of their rooms. 

On the Airbnb site, you will also be able to see the ‘Star Ratings’ – rated by the previous guest, in terms of cleanliness, locations, etc. 

WWOOF Japan stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

It is an organization that facilitates volunteering on farms in exchange for room and board. WWOOF Japan covers 8 broad regions and the list of Japanese farmer hosts often stay in the outskirts. 

This will be suitable for those who are looking into experiencing meaningful farm work. 

Homestay in Japan is another website for finding your Japanese Homestay, which has gained quite a good number of positive reviews. They will guide you step by step and have a very thorough process to guide you into finding your right host. 

4. What To Bring To A Host Family In Japan? 

Since you will be staying in a family home, there is not much for you to bring as most things will be provided. 

A few essentials for you to take before taking off:

Japanese Homestay
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i  )Passport and tickets –  You won’t be able to get into the country without these

ii )Cash in yen and a credit card (if you have) – Your Japanese host family will not be with you all the time and there is usually no allowance given

iii)Toiletries – Your Japanese host family will supply these to you, but it would be good to bring what suits you best and to demonstrate consideration 

iv )Medicine – You will need to arrange if there is any specific medicine prescription that you would be required to take. Take some with you, don’t look for them only in Japan as it could be hard to obtain them. It would be best to notify your host so that they are aware as well. 

v  )Electronics – You will want to take your phone and laptop if needed. Also good to bring a spare adapter.

vi )Souvenirs – Bring a gift from your home country for your Japanese host family. It is also a common thing to do in Japan to show appreciation to one another. 

vii)Pictures – Some pictures of anything from home such as your family, your pet, etc. This will be a good way for you to converse and such some culture with your Japanese host family 

5. Pros And Cons Living With Japanese Host Family

Japanese Homestay
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My personal Japanese homestay experience turned out to be one of the best experiences I could ever ask for as they were so welcoming and open toward me. It was an exchange between Japanese students who resided in my home country and vice versa. 

But surely not all host family is going to be like that. There are always advantages and disadvantages to living with a Japanese host family.

Advantage – Practicing The Local Language 

The English proficiency of each host family is different. 

So, there will be a tendency you will need to interact with people around the house in Japanese. 

Think of it as a good opportunity to improve your skills in the Japanese language. 

Advantage – Immersing Into The Culture 

With you leaving and spending time with your Japanese host family, you will learn a lot about Japanese culture and tradition. 

Simple things you will immediately pick up are such as table manners, taking off shoes before entering a house and giving a loud slurp sound when eating food which shows respect to the cook. 

Another thing you will notice is the humility of the Japanese people. No matter how rushed they are, the Japanese will always greet and bow to the elderly. 

Advantage – Big Saving

Especially Japanese Homestay students, they will go for Japanese Homestays because of the affordability. 

The cost of Japanese Homestays is cheaper compared to hotels or dorms. 

You also have to take into consideration the meals that will be provided and the experience you get, you can never buy that. 

Disadvantage – Lack Of Privacy 

Living under another family’s roof means sharing spaces around the house and abiding by their house rules. 

Although usually, the Japanese host family will provide your room, for your privacy.  

Disadvantage – Transportation 

As most Japanese families live outside the center of the city, you will need to commute by train if you want to head to the city. 

You will be seeing this quite common in Japan as the majority of them commute to work and school by train every day. 

6. Tips For Living With A Japanese Host Family

You will always need to remember that you are a guest with a homestay Japanese family, so learn the rules and make sure you stick by them.

 It will be good to do some research on Japanese culture before you get there, to avoid any awkward impressions. 

Simple things like assisting with the house chores, clearing the table after dinner and taking out the rubbish are expected and appreciated.

 No doubt every family has a different way of doing things. Thus, if you’re unsure, communicate with your host family and understand their way of doing things.

FAQ: Japanese Homestay

What Is a Japanese Homestay?

A Japanese Homestay is a cultural exchange between you and your host family in a foreign country. The Japanese host will prepare and provide your accommodation and meals in exchange for the homestay program fee which you will be paying. A Japanese Homestay duration ranges from a weekend to a yearlong. 

How Much Does Japanese Homestay Cost?

A Japanese Homestay costs approximately ¥4,900 (USD37) per night for 1 to 72 nights. If you are staying more than 72 nights, the cost for the homestay will be capped at a maximum ¥355,500 (USD2,711), which occurs at 73 nights. All necessities are provided as part of the cost, such as utilities, breakfast and dinner. 

Should I Do A Homestay In Japan?

Yes, you should do a homestay in Japan! It’s worth it to try a homestay. It could be for a short trip, taking up courses/ studying abroad in Japan or taking a gap year in Japan, just go for it! You will experience the best cultural immersion experience by doing a homestay in Japan if you are planning to travel to Japan. 

What’s A Japanese Host Family?

A Japanese host family is where a Japanese family that has people abroad living with them. Many families register as a host family because they want to help support students studying abroad in Japan

Commonly, Japanese host families have experience living or studying abroad outside of Japan. Also, these Japanese host families want to help host students from overseas as they truly enjoy spending time and getting to know people from overseas. 


Ready for your Japanese Homestay experience?

It can be intimidating to live in another family’s home, moreover in a foreign/ new country and you will need to get used to the cultural differences, but a Japanese Homestay is one of the most meaningful experiences you will have during your visit. 

Keep an open mind, explore and be out of your comfort zone and soak in the culture. 

Speaking from a person who has experienced a homestay in Japan, you will not regret it and will take back lifelong memories with an immense appreciation for Japanese culture.

 Also, remember once you are back in your home country, don’t lose touch with your Japanese host family!  

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